Grant Gerlock


Grant Gerlock started covering Des Moines and central Iowa for IPR in March 2019. Before that he covered food, agriculture and rural life for Harvest Public Media at NET in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his work was recognized with a Regional Murrow Award and awards from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

Grant has a master’s degree in mass communication from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm outside of Cumberland in southwest Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor.

Grant’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.

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Collin Richards speaks with one of his attorneys at his sentencing hearing on August 23, 2019.
Kylee Mullen / Ames Tribune

The man who admitted to stabbing and killing Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Collin Richards pleaded guilty to the murder in June and was sentenced in court Friday.

Flickr / Phil Roeder

As students head back to the classroom, dozens of schools across the state are preparing to offer free lunch and breakfast. A federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) pays for meals at schools with high poverty rates. Last year 157 Iowa schools were enrolled. That number is expected to go up for 2019.

Flickr / Carl T. Bergstrom

The top finishers at Quarter Horse races this weekend will have to give up a hair or two to show they were racing clean. The new protocol at Prairie Meadows in Altoona is an attempt to rid the industry of performance enhancing drugs.

Workers at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, take the first bets at the casino's new sportsbook.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowa is officially open for business for sports betting. Several casinos across the state took their first wagers Thursday, making Iowa the 11th state in the U.S. to officially legalize gambling on sports.

The entrance to Lakeside Casino near Osceola, Iowa.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Classic hits play over the speakers on the casino floor at Lakeside Casino near Osceola, in southern Iowa. Players sit at slot machines with names like Buffalo Grand, Lightning Link and Wild Cougar. The games erupt with lights and alarms.

Down an escalator and beyond the bar (and more slot machines) is the corner of the casino being renovated into a sportsbook, a betting parlor dedicated to wagering on sports.

Congressman Steve King speaks to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on August 14, 2019.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King is facing a round of criticism following comments on abortion at a meeting Wednesday with a Des Moines-area conservative group. King asked how many people would be left in the world if abortion in cases of rape or incest was commonplace throughout history.

New York City mayer Bill de Blasio speaks at the Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble / IPR

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Democrats need to put forward a vision that voters can be passionate about in order to bring voters off of the sidelines in the 2020 presidential election. The candidate for the Democratic nomination spoke to voters at the Iowa State Fair Sunday and cautioned that taking a moderate approach against President Donald Trump could hurt turnout.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble / IPR

Democrat Bernie Sanders laid out many of his familiar policy proposals at the Iowa State Fair Sunday. But this time he said his ideas are no longer on the political fringes, as they may have seemed to many voters when he campaigned four years-ago.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet addresses a crowd at the Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble / IPR

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet says the nation’s politics were “immobilized” by partisanship before Donald Trump was elected president. The Democratic candidate for president told voters at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair that he would bridge the divide by taking steps to rein in the influence of money in American politics.

Bennet said he would look to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, reform the redistricting system to eliminate political gerrymandering and place a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists.

A one-cent local sales tax took effect in Des Moines in July. Now the issues is going back before voters in neighboring communities.
City of Des Moines

Residents in five Polk County cities will vote Tuesday on whether to raise their local sales tax by a penny. Urbandale, Grimes, Johnston, Clive and Bondurant will vote on the local option sales tax for the first time since it was approved in Des Moines and several suburbs in March.

MedPharm's Aliviar branded medical cannabis products were on display at the MedPharm manufacturing facility in Des Moines Wednesday, October 17, 2018.
Katarina Sostaric / IPR file

The state board that oversees Iowa’s medical cannabis industry has declined adding any new conditions to the list of approved uses in Iowa. The Medical Cannabidiol Board denied petitions to approve illnesses such as anxiety and schizophrenia at its meeting Friday. A decision whether to approve post-traumatic stress disorder was delayed until November.

Former DHS director, Jerry Foxhoven, said he was forced out because he questioned spending DHS money to pay a staffer for Governor Kim Reynolds.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Former Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven is filing a whistleblower claim against Gov. Kim Reynolds in the first step toward a wrongful termination lawsuit against the state. Foxhoven claims he was fired for objecting to continue paying part of the salary of Reynolds' deputy chief of staff, Paige Thorson, from the DHS budget.

Iowa Racing and Gaming commissioner Julie Andres moves to approve a casino's sports betting license at a meeting in West Des Moines.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowa casinos are making preparations to take their first wagers on sporting events starting at noon on Aug. 15. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the final rules for sports gambling at its meeting Tuesday. The commission also gave initial approval to 18 casinos that had applied for sports gambling licenses.

Storm damage varied among homes on the same street, and so has recovery. The collapsed porch and broken windows appear untouched on one home while the house next door now looks unscathed.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Construction crews are still a regular presence on the north side of Marshalltown, where one year ago an EF-3 tornado carved a path through residential streets and the community’s downtown.

Casinos like the Isle of Capri are making plans to be ready for sports betting once the final rules are approved.
Dustin Oliver / Flickr

State regulators will vote later this month on rules allowing sports betting in Iowa, fulfilling a law passed this year by the legislature. If the guidelines are adopted by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the first wagers could be made as soon as mid-August.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

State and federal attorneys want the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse a Tama County magistrate judge’s decision to dismiss a set of criminal charges because they occurred on tribal land. In oral arguments Wednesday, they argued a law passed by Congress last year does not entirely eliminate the state’s jurisdiction on the Meskwaki Settlement in eastern Iowa as the judge ruled.

Iowa Capitol
John Pemble / IPR file

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is awarding more than $2.1 million in grants to support dozens of projects and organizations across the state, including everything from theatre performances to rural revitalization.

A one-cent local sales tax took effect in Des Moines in July. Now the issues is going back before voters in neighboring communities.
City of Des Moines

An additional one-cent sales tax will start showing up Monday on shoppers' receipts in Des Moines and several surrounding communities. Half of the revenue from the local option sales tax passed by voters in March is earmarked to lower property tax rates.

Kayla Lyon speaks during a subcommittee hearing on February 26, 2019.
John Pemble / IPR file photo

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has chosen a member of her own staff to head the state Department of Natural Resources. Kayla Lyon is the first woman appointed to lead the agency.

Muscatine is one of many Mississippi River towns to see recent flooding. The Upper Mississippi River has been designated among the most endangered rivers in the country, due to unauthorized levee construction.
Kate Payne / IPR file photo

The Mississippi River is continuing to dip below flood stage in Iowa after setting new marks for the longest flood on record in communities from Dubuque to Keokuk. As the water recedes, local leaders are setting to the task of adding up all the damage left behind.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

A group of Iowa House Democrats is waiting to hear what comes next in a lawsuit aimed at rolling back changes to the process for choosing Iowa Supreme Court justices. The lawmakers are challenging new rules passed on the last day of the legislative session giving the governor more influence over the membership of the judicial nominating commission.

Rob Dillard / IPR file

The Iowa Utilities Board is asking for more information about plans to move more oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a recent letter to the board, Dakota Access mentioned a project to upgrade pumps at a station near the central Iowa town of Cambridge. That would allow the pipeline to carry more than the current 570,000 barrels per day.

Megan Klindt and Donald Hendricks died when an engine fire spread throughout this bus in rural western Iowa.
Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office

After reviewing the case of a school bus fire in western Iowa, a federal safety board is calling for changes to fire safety standards that date back to 1971. The National Transportation Safety Board said buses are overdue for an upgrade to protect students from fires, but also said school districts should follow stricter rules to ensure drivers are healthy enough to take action when there is an emergency.

Former Iowa governor and current ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, gives testimony at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines.
Des Moines Register pool photo

Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad testified Friday that he did not discriminate against Christopher Godfrey when he asked him to resign as Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Commissioner before his six-year term was up.

Godfrey is suing Branstad, claiming he was asked to leave the position in 2011 because he is gay and that, after he declined, Branstad retaliated by slashing his salary.

Erolld Belegu, an advisor to Kosovo's prime minister, explains the country's incentives for Iowa businesses.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

The Republic of Kosovo is making a pitch for Iowa companies to invest in the young country’s economy. Representatives from Iowa’s sister-state in southeastern Europe were in Norwalk Wednesday to promote a program which includes 1,200 acres of land that will be parceled out to companies willing to build new operations in the country.

The Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines.
Bill Badzo / Flickr

A 10 person jury had its first opportunity Wednesday to hear arguments in a case where former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is accused of pressuring a department-head to resign because he is gay. Former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, Chris Godfrey, is suing the state, Branstad and two former aides because he says when he refused to step down his salary was cut in retaliation.

Clay Masters / IPR file

Dozens of communities released untreated water into rivers and streams over the past week after heavy rain fell across the state. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, more than 70 cases of flood water bypassing wastewater treatment centers have been reported since Thursday and more are expected from this week’s deluge.

Cyclists ride across the High Trestle Trail bridge near Madrid, Iowa.
Phil Roeder / Flickr

A plan to create a nationwide trail network for hiking and cycling includes a winding route through Iowa, from Davenport to Council Bluffs. The Great American Rail Trail was mapped out by the non-profit Rail Trail Conservancy and builds off of the state’s existing trail network.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, speaks to protestors outside a McDonald's in Des Moines. The Democratic presidential candidate said he supports making $15-per-hour the national minimum wage.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Workers and union supporters were joined by New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio at a protest in front of a Des Moines McDonald's.


The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in western Iowa Wednesday morning near the towns of Adair and Anita.